I turned on the shower. Hearing the water hit the wall and floor hard allowed me to feel what tears didn’t, for they would not come. Had they come, I suppose they would’ve been as heavy and flow as readily as the spouting water from the shower head. But they stayed inside, and the shower cried for me its forceful, unsalted tears. I got in, and let the water wash away the helplessness inside, the frustrations, the questions and the closing fists ready to protest.
I have just heard back yet another NO from a prospective employer and after all this talk about taking whatever God gives with thanks, I stomp around and slam the door and mutter about. But I know it is late and I am tired, so I stop talking and I sit there under wonderfully warm and pressured water slapping me hard on the back and I think: “there is so much more than what I know. I do not yet see the whole. God does see the whole. God is always working. God has got a plan.” My fists relax, my head drops and I am glad for this healing water, this Truth.
And that is just it, not knowing. Jumping off into God-knows-what blindfolded, trusting He does know what. It seems like a long time here in the in-betweens of life, but it has only been a summer. And I remember Israel, I remember their long in-between, and Voskamp’s words on their sustenance then:
For forty long years, God’s people daily eat manna—a substance whose name literally means ‘what is it?’ Hungry, they choose to gather up that which is baffling. They fill on that which has no meaning. More than 14,600 days they take their daily nourishment from that which they don’t comprehend. They find soul-filling in the inexplicable.
They eat the mystery.
They eat the mystery.
And the mystery, that which made no sense, is ‘like wafers of honey’ on the lips.
They ate the mystery, dare I? But it doesn’t taste like honey to me! And again my eloquence in the language of ingratitude shows up. More words come to memory. I spoke with my dear friend J, and upon her call unto the providence of God to give her a job, I warned her that God would provide, but to be prepared for the possibility of his provision to look differently than she expected (namely with the perfect job): perhaps he would provide with greater faith, perhaps with the ability to go without, perhaps through the giving of others. We need to broaden our idea of what Him providing for us looks like. We may get ‘what is it?’ when we ask for food. Hmm, it’s time to take my own advice. So I remember and look at what he has already done:
Lord, thanks for giving me a place to live and thank you that it is close to my friends.
Thanks for the friendships that have begun here.
I thank you for the body of believers here to grow with and worship You with.
The food for today was wonderful Lord, thanks
. . .
And so I speak broken eucharisteo. The language of thankfulness comes hard after years of fluency in the ungrateful tongue. And, is that why it must always be mystery Lord? Because I forget? So I need to go remember, gather my manna today and just for today because “I am beset by chronic soul amnesia. I empty of truth and need refilling. I need come again every day—bend, clutch, and remember—for who can gather the manna but once, hoarding, and store away sustenance in the mind for all living?”* And so I need more, “More euchariseo, more. And not only yesterday. But today—manna today or I starve”*
I want to gather this mystery you have for me in my arms. Eat just today as it is before me and thank you for the honey in my tongue. I want to trust in your sight over all things past, present and future and the plans that are held in your hands. You have asked me dearly “Are your ways My ways, child? Can you eat My manna, sustain on My mystery? Can you believe that I tenderly, tirelessly work all for the best good of the whole world—because My flame of love for you can never, ever be quenched?”* I will open wide my mouth that you may fill it Lord. You are the giver of all things. All is grace.
*Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts